A Saturday noontime rally at the Idaho Statehouse attracted more than 1,000 Add the Words advocates, newly energized for a ninth consecutive year of trying to convince the Idaho Legislature to add the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the Idaho Human Rights Act. But the huge difference this year is that LGBT rights supporters can point to a first-of-its-kind Idaho House Bill 2, which will be the subject of a formal committee hearing the week of January 26.
"When you leave this place, go home and make ready. Nourish your mind' nourish your spirit, prepare yourself for the formidable work that is before us," Boise Democratic Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb told the rally, which filled the Statehouse steps and spilled across the street to Capitol Park. "Act; don't talk about acting; don't think about acting; don't dream about acting; I want you to act. The time is short."
Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson: "We want people to be safe, and that includes being safe from discrimination."
Among the roster of Saturday's speakers was Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson who will soon retire as the city's top cop.
"We want people to be safe, and that includes being safe from discrimination," said Masterson. "A community and a state that value safety and security for all is a safer community, period."
Masterson told the gathering that he had received a troubling email in 2012 from a friend of an individual who was a victim of a crime. Masterson said there was evidence that the victim was targeted due to sexual orientation.
"That crime went unreported. That victim lacked trust that the crime would be investigated as the hate crime that it appeared to be," said Masterson. "And reported crime perpetuates crime.
Hundreds of attendees wrote personal message on post-it notes, urging lawmakers to support this year's proposed legislation. When advocates did the same thing three years ago, the GOP majority of the legislature pushed back by crafting a new Idaho law, banning such post-it notes from being affixed to Statehouse doors. In response, this year's post-it notes were plastered on make-shift doors, propped up just below the Capitol steps, at Saturday's rally.